The Legacy Of Blessings & Curses
A Chinese folk tale illustrates the relation of a blessing or a curse. One day a horse ran away from a man skilled in interpreting hidden meanings. When people tried to console him, he asked, “Why are you certain that this is a curse and not a blessing?” When his horse returned with a magnificent stallion following behind, his friends offered congratulations. But the man asked, “How can you be so certain that this not a curse?”
One day the man’s son rode the stallion, was thrown to the ground, and broke his hip. Everyone offered comfort at the misfortune that occurred. The man replied, “We shall see if this is such a curse.”
Sometime later, a band of marauding nomads invaded the region. All able-bodied men fought against the threat. The lame son was unable to join in the battle where many lives were lost. Thus, he was able to care for his father in his old age. And on and on and on it goes.
As we approach the year anniversary of being sheltered in place, with the possibility that most will be vaccinated by summer, and we’ll be freed, it’s an appropriate time to consider what the blessings and curses of the past year have been.
There have been many losses: of loved people, of contact with loved ones, of jobs and money, but there also have been blessings: of slowing down, learning yoga and meditation online, catching up on reading, learning to bake bread, to journal, and more.
Generations a hundred years from now will be curious about the 2020-2021 world pandemic, and we have the opportunity to write legacy letters telling them about our personal experiences, losses and learning in this unprecedented year.
Following are some questions to inspire your musings and writing (all these prompts may not move you; please use others of your own).
- What losses have you had this year, and how have you experienced and expressed your grief?
- What are three important things you’ve learned about yourself during this year?
- How has your spiritual life been affected this year?
- What new skills have you developed this year?
- How have you amused yourself this year?
- What have you substituted for in-person physical contact beyond your pod?
- What new vocabulary have you used this year?
- How have masks and social distancing affected you?
May your legacy writing be a gift to the future and to yourself as we emerge from this most unusual year.
Rachael Freed, LICSW, senior fellow, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota, is the author of Your Legacy Matters, Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies: Passing Your Beliefs & Blessings to Future Generations and Heartmates: A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient. Rachael can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.life-legacies.com.